Beware the Ides of March: Late, wet start for 2019 planting?
January and February saw substantial snowfall accumulation across the northern Central Plains, raising concerns about the volume of the spring thaw. The storm during Mar. 9-10 brought additional snowfall and blizzard conditions across the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern Michigan. Another event is forecast this week, bringing another 6 to 8 inches.
Temperatures have been below normal through the first half of March and could be pointing toward a late spring. Once thawing sets in, fields will not really be workable until snow melts, water subsides, and topsoil dries out. Likewise, melting pack ice and elevated river levels could also bring flooding along the Red River Valley and low-lying areas.
This obviously has implications for spring planting season. In particular, the timing of planting for sugar beets could impact Q3 availability if crops are delayed and harvest does not commence until later in the quarter. Also, late planting could result in the potential switching of acreage from corn to soybeans due to shorter growing season window. But we have seen how quickly U.S. farmers can get the crop in ground once conditions are right. This is a weather market worth watching closely into April.
Snow depth: Mar. 12, 2019
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